Calling Dr. House

A couple of days ago I made a pork tenderloin. I love pork tenderloin for two reasons. One, it is delicious. Two, it slices uniformly, therefore making a beautiful presentation. But, unfortunately, pork tenderloin is not without its drawbacks. One of them is that I fear all pork. It's a groundless fear, kind of like the fear of a monster lurking in the dark closet or under the bed. I have feared monsters like that many times, but not once have I ever seen one.

I don't have photos of this last tenderloin because I didn't intend to write about it. I was using a new recipe from a usually trusted source, but when it comes to pork I don't trust anyone. The recipe clearly stated to cook the tenderloin for 15 minutes, then let it rest for 10. Fifteen minutes? Who is she kidding? I questioned the time in my mind, but set my timer anyway.

When I heard the timer beep and opened the oven, seriously, the pork looked raw. I quickly closed the oven door, having flashbacks of my health textbook from school. The fear of trichinosis flooded through me. This recipe author must be trying kill me. I suddenly remembered one of Dr. Greg House's tidbits of wisdom. "Everybody lies." Is this what he was talking about? I got my meat thermometer and tested the pork. It wasn't even close to being done by my standards.

I cooked the pork for more than twice the recommended time in order to get a thermometer reading that allayed my fears. It turned out to be quite delicious, even if I did overcook it according to the professional's recipe. The flavor was enhanced with the seasoning Herbes De Provence. I really should make it again and share the recipe, but I'm not sure who is right about the cooking time. Should the pork really only be cooked for 15 minutes as the renowned expert indicated, or is my extended cooking time correct?

Does anyone else have this fear of trichinosis from pork, or is this a crazy obsession of mine? The health books warned us about it as school children. I even saw the episode of House where the patient's life hung on a thread because of trichinosis. After ruling out lupus and a hundred other diseases, House finally had his revelation. The only answer was trichinosis. The right medicine was administered just in time to save the patient's life. And how did the patient get trichinosis? The poor girl had a pulled pork sandwich once at a picnic.

Do people actually get trichinosis from pork now? I've never heard of a single case (except the one Dr. House cured). Every time I cook pork, though, I hear the word 'trichinosis' being whispered by a villainous voice into my ear. Seems like there must be more immediate things I should fear other than this obscure disease, but few come to mind so readily.

I highly suspect if I were to actually become infected with trichinosis my doctors would probably never get it diagnosed before it got me. It just doesn't seem like the kind of ailment they have on their radar. Like the team of television doctors, they would have to schedule various tests and rule out a myriad of other diseases before trichinosis was considered. Of course, my symptoms would be atypical, confusing everyone all the more. Not to mention, my hospital doesn't even have a Dr. House. I think I'd better rely on my meat thermometer. It doesn't lie.


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  1. Loved your post! Very clever and funny! I fear pork, too. It's one of the reasons I have not eaten it in six years!

  2. Ha ha! I have fears like this too, but mine resonate more with poultry--chicken and ground turkey. Love the House references!

  3. This thing of not cooking pork long enough is something I have seen on a couple of cooking shows this past year. They say it makes it more tender. Personally, it makes me gag to even think about eating pork that has not been cooked to the point that I consider done. The pork I cook may not be as tender, but at least no one at my house will be nibbling their way toward trichinosis with their pork loin. Actually, I believe that trichinosis has been pretty much eliminated with all of the meds they give the pigs these days. I must have seen the same books warning of trichinosis in pork that you did in school. They sure got that into our heads, didn't they. I'd die waiting for any doctors around here to diagnose a mystery disease like trichinosis.

    1. Hi Susie, The fear of undercooked pork might be the one thing I retained from all my years in school! The experts may like it rare (raw) but I'm with you, turn up the heat! I'm glad I'm not the only one who feels the need to get the pork completely done. Yes, I'm afraid just as they threw the last shovelful of dirt over me, the doctor would finally get the results of the tests back showing trichinosis.